Alphonse Maria Mucha Prague Czech Republic


Slav Epic – Oath of Omladina under the Slavic Linden Tree (1926)

Prague is an art lesson, with endless galleries opening my eyes to new artists. One highly-visible artist in Prague is Art Nouveau painter and decorative artist Alphonse Maria Mucha (1860 – 1939). Mucha’s popular style, postcards, and commercial illustrations are well known.

Alphonse Mucha Rêverie 1897
Mucha Museum Prague

There’s a Mucha Museum in Prague’s Old Town on Panská Street. His fine art masterpiece, The Slav Epic, has been on display at the Veletržní Palace since 2012. The Slav Epic is a massive, incredible accomplishment. I was touched by its dramatic beauty and impeccable detail!

Zbiroh Castle Czech Republic – orangesmile.com
Slav Epic – Introduction of the Slavonic Liturgy in Great Moravia (1912)
Slav Epic – The Meeting at Křížky (1916)
Slav Epic – Jan Hus Preaching at the Bethlehem Chapel: Truth Prevails (1916)
Slav Epic

It took Mucha years to create the Slav Epic, an extraordinary, masterful series of twenty large paintings depicting and celebrating the history of the Czech and Slavic people. Between 1911 and 1926, he worked tirelessly on the enormous canvases from a spacious studio in Zbiroh Castle near Prague. Mucha bestowed the paintings to the city of Prague in 1928. From 1963 until 2012 The Slav Epic was on display in the chateau in Moravský Krumlov in South Moravia where Alphonse Maria Mucha was born.

Slav Epic – After the Battle of Grunewald (1924)
Zodiac 1896 Alphonse Mucha
Mucha Background and History

In Moravia, Mucha was a decorative painter creating theatrical scenery. He later moved to Vienna where he took employment with a Viennese theatrical design company. After a fire destroyed his employer’s business, Mucha returned to Moravia as a freelance painter.

Alphonse Mucha – Terri Maxfield Lipp

Count Karl Khuen of Mikulov hired Mucha to paint murals in his Hrušovany Emmahof Castle. The Count was so impressed with the outcome, he sponsored Mucha’s training at the Munich Academy of Fine Arts.

Woman With a Burning Candle
Woman with Burning Candle 1933 Alphonse Maria Mucha
Madonna of the Lilies 1905 Alphonse Mucha
Self Portrait Alphonse Maria Mucha

“Mucha moved to Paris in 1887 where he continued his formal art studies. While studying he produced magazine and advertising illustrations.

Slav Epic – The Coronation of Serbian Tsar Štěpán Dušan (1926)
Water Lily – Alphonse Mucha
Gismonda Poster

About Christmas 1894, Mucha visited a print shop and discovered the need for an advertising poster for a play featuring Sarah Bernhardt – the most famous actress in Paris. He created a lithographed poster for the play.

Gismonda Poster
Gismonda Poster
Mucha Manga Mystery Poster – tagesspiegel.de
Alfons Mucha Slav Epic – The Slavs in Their Original Homeland (1912)

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“With the Slav Epic Mucha wished to unite all the Slavs through their common history and mutual reverence for peace and learning and eventually inspire them to work for humanity using their experience and virtue.”  Mucha Foundation

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Women of Mucha’s Slav Epic – artborghi.com
Slav Epic – The Coronation of Serbian Tsar Štěpán Dušan (1926)

In January 1895, his poster for Gismonda by French dramatist Victorien Sardou attracted much attention in Paris. Bernhardt was so satisfied with the success of the poster that she began a six-year contract with Mucha.”

Fruit by Alphonse Mucha

Mucha’s works often featured beautiful young women in flowing floral dresses surrounded by halos. His pale pastel colors and elegant style received international exposure during the Exposition Universelle of 1900.

Luv Me Films Promotional Poster – Hapshash and the Coloured Coat
Bosnia and Austria

In addition to his posters, Mucha decorated the Bosnia-Herzegovina Pavilion and collaborated with decorating the Austrian Pavilion. His work was often imitated. He tried to disassociate himself from the Art Nouveau style insisting that “rather than maintaining any fashionable stylistic form, his paintings were entirely a product of himself and Czech art”.

Slav Epic – Celebration of Svantovít (1912)

Mucha believed that art existed to communicate a spiritual message. Frustrated by the fame associated with his commercial work, he concentrated on the projects of other artists.

Mucha’s work continues to experience periodic revivals of interest for illustrators and artists. His work saw a strong revival during the 1960s. It’s evident in the psychedelic posters and record album covers of Hapshash and the Coloured Coat – British artists Michael English, Nigel Waymouth, and Bob Masse.

Mucha Museum Prague

Mucha Manga Mystery exhibition is appearing in Zürich and moves to the Bröhan Museum in Berlin from December 5, 2013 to March 2, 2014. The exhibition explores how Mucha’s “distinct visual language” influenced generations of graphic designers and examines the work of manga artists from Japan with “connections to Mucha’s stylistic vocabulary”.

Mucha Girls – Words +Images

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